light into ashes
Jul 6, 2011 2:56pm
Re: St Stephen (and Other Tunes with More Than One Composer)
Yes, Weir spoke a few times in the '80s of listening to the tapes after a show and finding the germ of a song idea in a jam - like in '83: "Sometimes a complete disaster will amount to something....we'll go back and listen to the tape, and by god, there's the basis of another song there." He made it sound like it was still an ongoing thing - but he didn't name any examples!
Which made me wonder if it ever really happened, or if the Dead always just left it at, "Hey, there COULD be a new song there..." They were often a band more of possibilities than realizations! (Which Garcia ruefully admitted in many '80s interviews...)
There are quite a few examples in the early '70s of jams that pop up only once but sound like they must have been composed... I've mentioned some of them often:
2/18/71 Beautiful Jam
3/22/72 the 'Bobby McGee/Bid You Goodnight' jam at the end of Caution
7/25/72 the 'almost-Spanish Jam' in the middle of the Other One
12/31/72 the last jam in the Other One http://www.archive.org/post/310559/wow-where-can-i-find-more-dark-stars-jams-like-this
I'm sure you'd like the quiet jam at the end of the 3/20/77 Other One; not a themed jam, but kind of a prelude to the solo spaces Jerry would play in May '77, here Phil & Bob accompany him and it just drips with a 'classical' feeling.
That jam near the end of the 5/21/74 Playing struck me as well as something unique; it is quite the mood swing. Given how they start set II with that Playing and go for such length, perhaps they were intending to make it a medley, but went through so many themes that actual songs became unnecessary! (Happens occasionally that year...) And the 10/15/83 space is also a favorite of mine - Jerry & Bob had been working on the guitar-duet spaces through the year.
But any of these could be things the band did in rehearsal all the time....we only heard them when they happened to pop up onstage.